Too Much of a Good Thing

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can never get too much of a good thing?” Apparently, not everybody feels that way.

I remember when I hit my teenage years, suddenly I became “too much.” I was too emotional. Too loud. Too opinionated.

I carried my too-muchness with me to college, where I went on to try too hard, care too much, feel too deeply.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get it through my thick skull that the world was sending me the message to tone myself down, but it was probably because I was too preoccupied.

I’ve since learned to regulate some of my too-muchness. Maybe that’s called maturity? But I’ve noticed that many people don’t survive that stage of life unscathed.

How many of us learn to shrink ourselves back before we’ve even begun to claim who we are? Most of us, I fear.

I’ve discovered, over the years, that my too-muchness is a gift. Like anything, our gifts can serve us or be our Achilles heel, so learning how and when to use them effectively is critical.

When I seek to know myself better, I look for what’s hiding underneath.

Under my too emotional, too caring, too feeling, is a deeply sensitive soul who has learned to tap her empathy to serve others.

Under my too loud and opinionated, lies a voice that cries to rally the world. Who hungers to speak for those who have no voice.

Under my trying too hard, simmers an inextinguishable drive to make a difference and keep moving forward.

What I’m continuing to learn is that the key is not to be less of who I am, but rather harness, shape and hone the best of who I am.

So here’s to all of you who are too much! And here’s to all of you who have, somewhere along the way, learned to silence all too much.

The time has come to claim your gifts. To learn how to wield all that you are in this fight for a better world. We cannot afford to bury the best of ourselves in an effort to make others more comfortable.

When it comes to human beings, there is never too much of a good thing.

©A Thoughtful Company, LLC


Kimberly Davis
Kimberly Davis
An expert on authentic leadership, Kimberly Davis shares her inspirational message of personal power, responsibility, and impact with organizations across the country and teaches leadership programs world-wide; most notably, her program “OnStage Leadership” which runs in NYC and Dallas, TX. Additionally, Kimberly teaches for Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Cox School of Business’s Executive Education Program's Transformational Leadership Program and their Latino Leadership Initiative. She is also privileged to teach for the Bush Institute’s WE Lead Program (empowering female leaders from the Middle East). Kimberly is a TEDx speaker and her book, Brave Leadership: Unleash Your Most Confident, Authentic, and Powerful Self to Get the Results You Need, is the 2019 winner of the Benjamin Franklin Silver Award for Business and Career; an Amazon Bestseller in Business Leadership, Business Motivation, and Self-Improvement, and Motivational Business Management; and was named as the number one book to read in Inc. Magazine’s “The 12 Most Impactful Books to Read in 2018,” with a cover-endorsement by best-selling author Daniel Pink.

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  1. Kimberly, boy, did your message bring up an old memory – often expressed as a criticism: “You’re too sensitive, Jeff.” That little word – too – had a profound impact on my subsequent behavior growing up, and it wasn’t a positive one. Now that I’m older and, I hope, a whole lot wiser, I think those messages of “too this or that” came from people who innately lacked whatever quality they were disparaging. It may simply have been expressed as unconscious jealously.

    Burying our ‘toos” isn’t maturity; examining them is; making them work for us and others is.

    I hope you never lose your ‘toos”! Where would we be if you hadn’t been too jazzed, too driven, too passionate to put pen to paper and pour your heart out about the need to demonstrate Brave Leadership?

  2. Hi Kimberly. I met you only a few days ago on Bizcatalyst, but from the first article I have read, I became a fan of your writing.
    As for too-muchness, I was a late bloomer in becoming “too much”.
    Only in my middle age, I discovered the liberating power of being too loud and opinionated.
    As with many things in our lives, it is never too late. Everyone has their own timeline for accomplishing their goals.
    My goal is never to shrink myself back before I’ve become “too much”. 🙂

  3. Oh, sister from another set of parents, this so spoke to me.

    As did Yonason Goldson’s answer, because “reins” is the word that has most often come to my mind when I have thought back on this issue.
    How wonderful it would have been instead of having been told that “the emotions would serve you no good, you have to be rational”, an emotional person who knew when to let those horses gallop wild and when to hold them back could have been a role model and shared their experiences. It is not on/off – it just needs a dial.

    While it left me with no more knowledge on how to put the horses to best use, at least my father at one point said “that is why I love you so much.”

    Let me repeat those words to you, Kimberly.

    • Oh Charlotte, you are wonderful. You actually just brought tears to my eyes. Thank you.

      Yes! This is it! “It is not on/off – it just needs a dial.” That’s right. I’m learning that the best way to “reign” myself is to enter into curiosity. To get curious about what’s been triggered, or why I care so deeply. If I can stand back and observe myself, it helps me to understand what’s at the root of it all and regulate myself a little better. I remember when I was a teenager I never felt like I was being heard, so I would get louder and more emphatic, which actually had the opposite effect on my parents. They could just write it off as “dramatics,” instead of taking me seriously. As an adult, I can better identify when that has been triggered and ask myself what the other person needs from me, in order to actually hear me. But we can’t regulate if we don’t know ourselves, can’t name our needs, and then be ready to take responsibility for getting those needs met.

    • I so love hearing your story! I hope you don’t mind, Ric, I loved it enough to read it to my husband. You remind me how, in the thick of it all, we can’t know how things are going to turn out. We just have to be willing to be fully IN it in the midst of that not-knowing.

  4. I love this, Kimberly. I see so much truth in this and can relate it to some beautiful souls I know who have reined in so much that only those closest to them have a clue of all that they have to offer.

    I’ve seen kids who try their hand at art, or music, or sports… only to quickly walk away because they didn’t have supportive people around to encourage them when they were struggling or feeling insecure about their abilities. Regardless of how their skills compared to others, we need to encourage kids (and adults) to express themselves, try new things… simply for the joy of it.

    I believe your message is one that can help more people find the confidence or courage needed to put themselves out there. And the world will be a better place because they do.


    • Ric, this has to be one of the loveliest comments I’ve ever received. Thank you! I can’t help but think of my own son, who is 15… I’m so desperate to keep that wonderful, creative, joyful, childlike spirit alive. It’s hard to know how much is natural teenage hormones that mutes one’s self-expression, vs how much is cultural/societal pressures. I pray we can navigate these waters wisely… I’m so glad that we shared a Zoom group, as I picture you with your horses in paradise as I type!

    • Ha ha. I’m actually heading out to feed the horses now. I’m sure your son feels an abundance of love and support, Kimberly. Our daughters are in their 30’s now. As they were growing up we exposed them to pretty much everything we could… including travels to more than a dozen countries. We watched to see what they seemed most interested in and encouraged them along the way. Our oldest shaved her head (with my beard trimmer) when she was on the Prom Court and the co-captain of the cheerleading squad. Our youngest performed in piano recitals wearing combat boots and a 6″ high, try-colored mohawk. While we were pretty clear about important boundaries such as honesty, integrity, fairness, etc… we felt we were along for the ride when it came to many of their personal choices. And what a ride it has been… and continues to be. We feel blessed that our daughters have grown up to be two loving, caring, talented, thoughtful, and confident young women who we are so very proud of.

    • I so love hearing your story! I hope you don’t mind, Ric, I loved it enough to read it to my husband. You remind me how, in the thick of it all, we can’t know how things are going to turn out. We just have to be willing to be fully IN it in the midst of that not-knowing.

    • That’s great, Kimberly. Trust me, we have lots of stories and certainly had many periods of doubt. Staying close and investing yourself in what’s most important to them seems to have been an a important part of them feeling loved, supported, and trusted.

  5. I really love this article, Kimberly. It projects your positive openness to bless people with your experience, your knowledge and instinctive desire to help others pave the way to find their hidden personae.

    You do know how to express the most inner feelings and ‘translate’ them into a written gift for the good of others. I agree, we do tend to have two elements in life; two faces perhaps. One is the visible and audible self that is projected in everyday life, but can potentially be under-used, or ‘hide’ what would have been the spontaneous real-self. Being told to think before you speak may be sound advice in some cases, but puts a rope around the freedom of intellect; the constant awareness that you may say something out of synch with what is expected. Freeing the heart; following the heart, releases the subliminal ‘you’.

    Looked upon earlier years and wonderfully recognizing what indeed ‘too-muchness’ is and what ‘silence’ means, acknowledging ‘the true self’, you have opened the doors of enlightenment for many who have wondered ‘why’. Do we act for the sake of others, or be ourselves for the sake of ourselves, but for the good of others.

    Kimberly, your article is a brilliant eye opener. Thank you.

    • Simon thank you so much for sharing your insights. You’ve added so much to this conversation! I really loved how you expressed, “puts a rope around the freedom of intellect” – that so perfectly captures the experience! Grateful for you, friend!

  6. Here’s your big takeaway, Kimberly:

    What I’m continuing to learn is that the key is not to be less of who I am, but rather harness, shape and hone the best of who I am.

    Passion filtered through control produces unstoppable power. You might appreciate these thoughts from my forthcoming book:

    King David, in his passion to acquit himself as a faithful servant of the Almighty, cries out, “Examine me, O Lord, and test me; scrutinize my intellect and my heart.” The Hebrew word khilyosai, rendered in the verse as “my intellect,” translates literally as “my kidneys.” Where modern philosophers describe a perpetual conflict between the head and the heart, the ancients construed the same inner turmoil as a battle between the heart and the kidneys.

    We’re all familiar with the heart as a metaphor representing the impulses of human emotion. The heart pumps the blood, which boils in anger, freezes with terror, and turns bad through enmity. Matters of the heart are those that bypass reason and rationality to connect directly with feelings and passion.

    But what do the kidneys have to do with intellect?

    The kidneys function to keep the blood clean. Without their ceaseless removal of impurities from the body, our systems would become so polluted that we would quickly fall ill and expire. In the same way that kidneys filter out contaminants from the blood, cool introspection and evaluation filter out the more inflammatory urges of our emotions.

    What moderates the impulses of the impetuous heart, therefore, is the calculated restraint of the rational mind. It is the intellect that keeps human beings morally healthy by screening out the toxic influences of ego, sensory gratification, and foreign ideas. Just as the pure flow of blood is critical for a sound body, pure thinking is essential for a healthy soul.

    This may explain why many translators have chosen to render the word khaliyos not as “kidneys” but as “reins,” relating to the renal system that keeps our blood clean and oxygenated so that our minds remain clear enough to rein in our passions.

    However, the capacity of reason can itself be perverted if our hearts are not committed to what is good and what is true. That’s why the mind needs the heart as much as the heart needs the mind. For if sound reasoning fails to rein in the longings of the heart, the cravings of desire will give free rein to the power of rationalization. When that happens, instead of holding the heart in check, the mind becomes an accomplice in destructive self-indulgence.

    In the process of making ethical choices, therefore, we need to recognize the natural tension between the intellect and the emotions, between logic and intuition, between cold reason and animated passion. Only when we can broker a truce, as opposed to an alliance, between these two capricious factions can we conclude with some degree of confidence that our choices are the right choices.